Office Genie - the shared office marketplace
Office Genie is the UK's biggest online marketplace for spare desk space in shared offices. Businesses can list their spare desks free-of-charge, and "deskers" and small businesses can find desk space which matches their requirements. Use the shared office search above to identify shared offices for rent which suit you, then get in touch direct with the shared office provider to find out more information and arrange viewings.
What is a shared office?
The practice of shared desk space has been growing at a rapid pace in the past couple of years. If you're a business in an office with spare space, it makes so much sense to let out that space to one or several other businesses and freelancers in the form of shared desks. The host business makes some extra rental cash and generates a busy, buzzy atmosphere that normally benefits everyone.
Pros and cons of shared office space
Shared office space can be fantastic option for two main groups: freelancers and small/startup businesses. In principle, a shared office is an extremely flexible and cost-effective way to run or start your business.
The main advantages of renting a desk as part of an office share are:
- no long-term commitment and liabilities – contracts are usually rolling monthly (unlike long-term commercial leases)
- existing facilities/infrastructure – broadband, security, meeting rooms and so on usually be in place already.
- move in straight away – shared office space is usually available immediately; you don't get delays for lease negotiations and refurbishments.
- hassle-free admin – the monthly fee will usually include all rates and utilities, so you just pay one bill and don't need to administrate or negotiate with office suppliers.
- enjoyable workplace – co-working can be great; rather than be stuck in a small office by yourself, a shared office can provide a professional, stimulating environment, as well a people to go to the pub with after work!
The downsides really mirror the upsides. You won't have control over security, décor, office suppliers, and of course your office-mates. If you need control over those things, then probably steer clear of shared offices.
What type of businesses share offices?
Typical "deskers" (office slang for freelancers who rent desks) include web developers, designers, architects, translators, journalists, IT contractors, and many more besides. The market is huge, and is characterised by professions or companies where location is often unimportant and the internet makes remote working possible and even desirable.
In addition to the "spare couple of desks in the corner" operations (of which there are many), there are more and more actual rent-a-desk schemes where letting out desks becomes a major (or even the sole, in some cases) revenue generator for the shared office provider.
Rent-a-desk schemes sound, and in some cases are, a bit like serviced office space. The key difference is generally the service level; serviced office schemes generally offer reception and IT support services, for example, which you wouldn't expect in a desk scheme. As a result rent-a-desk schemes can be a quite cheap but still offer some services over and above other shared offices (such a meeting rooms and hot desking), and normally have more of a shared-office look and feel.
The growth of the shared office scheme
The idea that an office share is a actually a practical, cost-effective choice for many small businesses really only reached mainstream business consciousness during the recent recession. Office Genie (then known as Desk Space Genie) got a huge amount of coverage in the national press during the downturn for promoting the idea that, first, some businesses could monetise their wasted space by letting out spare desks and, second, other businesses could rent that spare space as a cheap, flexible alternative to conventional leased office space.
Of course, the practice of sharing office space has been around for much longer that, and has been particularly prevalent in areas with high densities of media and creative companies, such as London (particularly Soho and Old Street), Birmingham, Manchester and Brighton.
What next in my shared office search?
Use the shared office search at the top of this page to find shared offices to rent throughout London and the UK. If you'd like to compare the cost of shared office space for rent against serviced and conventional office space, then use our main office space search.